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James Deay Cherry

December 13, 1945 ~ June 8, 2020 (age 74)


James Deay Cherry, Jr. passed away on June 8, 2020 in Crawfordsville, IN. He was the husband of Linda Smith Cherry. They shared 52 years of marriage together.

Born on December 13, 1945 in Chicopee, Massachusetts, James was the son of James Deay Cherry, Sr. and Claire Wood Cherry. He received Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Chemistry Education from Central Connecticut State University and The University of Connecticut respectively. A teacher of Chemistry, AP Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry, James served for 36 years in Connecticut schools, primarily in Enfield, Connecticut at Enrico Fermi High School. In later years, he also served as a consultant on laboratory safety practices for many school districts, and taught the Chemical Laboratories course at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Over the course of his career, James was the recipient of many awards and recognitions, including the Connecticut Chemistry Teacher of the Year awarded by the American Chemical Society (1999). He was a Finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year (2001), and was recognized by the New England Chemistry Association for Excellence in Teaching. He was one of twelve national recipients of an Einstein Fellowship (2003-2004), and advised Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota) on science policy and veteran’s issues.

James was dedicated to serving his community. He was elected to two Connecticut boards of education (Marlborough, Connecticut and Region 8, Connecticut), and served on two library boards (Richmond Memorial Library in Marlborough, Connecticut and the Crawfordsville District Library in Crawfordsville, Indiana). He performed NASA grant evaluations through the National Science Foundation, and scholarship assessments for the Montgomery County Community Foundation. He also served as a youth soccer coach in Somers, Connecticut, a tennis coach for Enrico Fermi High School, and was recognized with his wife, as “Democrats of the Year” in Marlborough, Connecticut (2007).

He was a devoted father, always attending his son’s many soccer games, tennis matches, and theater performances. He eventually traveled to the Midwest so he could be as dedicated a grandfather as he was a father. James was a gifted tennis player with a shelf of trophies, and he was an enthusiastic cross-trainer at the gym. He loved to garden with his wife, drink craft beer with his son, and go for walks on the beach with his grandchildren. He will be deeply missed.

He is survived by his wife, Linda Smith Cherry; his three sisters, Marilyn (Eugene) Scheck, Linda (Stephen) Child, and Nancy (John) Couture; his son, James Matthew Cherry and daughter-in-law, Crystal Benedicks; his three grandchildren, George Benedicks Cherry, Rebecca Helen Cherry, and Katherine Jean Cherry; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents.

Due to Covid-19 precautions, a memorial service will be held at a later date. Sanders Priebe Funeral Care of Crawfordsville, Indiana entrusted with care. Share memories and condolences online at In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations by made in this name to any of the follow organizations:

League of Women Voters (Crawfordsville, Indiana)
Christ Lutheran Church (Crawfordsville, Indiana)
Wabash College (Crawfordsville, Indiana)
Concordia Lutheran Church (Manchester, Connecticut)
Richmond Memorial Library (Marlborough, Connecticut)


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